Posts

September 03, 2014

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8:58 PM | Blessed are the cheese makers (except those that have an import alert)
Following the don’t-age-on-wood-boards-uh-just-kidding incident earlier this year, the U.S. FDA are again raising the hackles of cheese purveyors. This time over an import alert. According to Janet Fletcher of the L.A. Times Daily Dish, an FDA-issued alert on certain manufacturers of … Continue reading →
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8:18 PM | Nature Communications: Respiratory Transmission of Avian H3N8 In Ferrets
Photo Credit Wikipedia   # 9035   For those who aren’t completely overwhelmed by the plethora of zoonotic pathogens that have been coming out of the woodwork over the past few years, we’ve a new study today on an avian influenza virus – first isolated in New England seals back in 2011 (see New England Seal Deaths Tied to H3N8 Flu Virus)  –  that finds it is not only well adapted to mammalian hosts, that it can also be easily transmitted between […]
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6:50 PM | Danish processor pulls all smoked halibut from retail after Listeria findings
Danish seafood processor Hjerting Laks is assessing whether to resume its smoked halibut production after recalling products due to Listeria findings in two batches last week. A decision on this will be taken next week, the company’s director Christoph Kjaergaard said … Continue reading →
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6:44 PM | Fonterra boosting food safety after last year’s recall
Fonterra Co-operative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, is on track in lifting the quality of its food safety processes, nine months after an independent review into its handling of last year’s false alarm food scare. The Auckland-based company has … Continue reading →
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6:38 PM | Always after an outbreak instead of before: McDonald’s to increase oversight of Chinese suppliers
McDonald’s said it would monitor its suppliers in China more closely after a food safety scandal in the country hurt the chain’s sales and reputation. The company plans to increase audits and video monitoring at its suppliers and send more … Continue reading →
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6:32 PM | 26 sick; Real China Salmonella victims take legal action in UK
Victims of a recent Salmonella outbreak which has been linked to a Chinese restaurant in Hampshire “want answers”. A total of 26 people who were affected by the illness, many of whom ate at the Real China restaurant in Eastleigh, … Continue reading →
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5:21 PM | WHO: Port Harcourt (Nigeria) Ebola Update
  # 9034   We’ve an update from the World Health Organization today on the chain of events that led to the infection, and death, of a Port Harcourt physician from the Ebola virus. While parts of this story have been reported in the media over the past few days - this is the most complete, and worrisome – account  to date.   After being exposed to a patient who fled Lagos, the doctor developed symptoms of his own on August 11th. Regrettably, he […]
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5:06 PM | TWiM #86: Blurring the line between organelle and endosymbiont
Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Michael Schmidt, Elio Schaechter and Michele Swanson.  Vincent, Elio, Michael, and Michele consider whether our eating behavior is manipulated by gastrointestinal microbiota, and an aphid gene of bacterial origin whose gene product encodes a protein that is transported to an obligate endosymbiont.  Subscribe to TWiM (free) on iTunes, via RSS feed, by email or listen on your mobile device with […]
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3:07 PM | Behind the Science: Ants, Mushrooms, Bees and Yeast
One of the perils of walking into our lab on any given day is that someone will be working on something so exciting that it will make you forget what you initially entered the lab to do. I fell prey to this exact predicament when I “popped” into the lab the other day to quickly check on a sample, only to have my attention fully rapt by the experiments of our post-doctoral researchers, Mary Jane Epps and Anne Madden. Mary Jane Epps (also the lead author of our new camel cricket […]
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2:01 PM | PLoS Currents: Calculating An R0 For Ebola
R0 (pronounced R-nought) or Basic Reproductive Number. Essentially, the number of new cases in a susceptible population likely to arise from a single infection. With an R0 below 1.0, a virus (as an outbreak) begins to sputter and dies out. Above 1.0, and an outbreak can have `legs’.   # 9033   One of the crucial pieces of information epidemiologists and statisticians seek on infectious diseases is just how contagious is it?   Some viruses – like measles […]
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12:01 PM | How Animations Can Help Scientists Test a Hypothesis
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11:45 AM | UNC Public health school serves raw milk cheese at welcome reception
Although North Carolina is largely seen as a basketball-first state, college football is definitely king during the fall months. Despite a current top-25 ranking for Carolina, and a less-than-stellar start of the season for N.C. State (a last minute one-point … Continue reading →
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10:31 AM | Philippines: Imported Case Of MERS-CoV In a HCW
Source : Philippines DOH Facebook page   # 9033     Based on the drop in the number of MERS cases reported by the Saudi MOH over the the summer, it is a bit surprising this morning to discover that a Philippine nurse, just returned from working in KSA, has tested positive for the virus and is now in isolation at Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.    This makes the second imported case of MERS for the Philippines.   First this this […]
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9:33 AM | CDC Ebola Press Briefing: Transcript & Audio
Credit CDC     # 9032   Yesterday’s dual press conferences (see CDC & WHO Press Briefings On Ebola) will be augmented later this morning by a briefing from a High Level UN delegation (Chan, Fukuda, and Nabarro) in Washington D.C..    While we wait on today’s developments the CDC has published the audio and transcript of yesterday’s briefing, along with a press release summarizing Dr. Thomas Frieden’s comments.     […]
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8:14 AM | Who steals sheep? New Zealanders
Cunning sheep rustlers have captured and presumably butchered 30 pregnant ewes from a park on the fringes of central Auckland that is well known for its daffodils and lambs. “It’s disgusting behaviour,” the park’s farm manager Peter Maxwell said on … Continue reading →
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8:09 AM | Concern over shellfish safety controls in Ireland
A “significant” number of recommendations involving shellfish food safety controls still have not been fully addressed, more than two years after they were made, a new audit by the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office has found. The latest audit … Continue reading →
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3:25 AM | The US Postal Service Cares (actually this was kind of a nice gesture)
Well, this is a new one for me and my family.  We got some mail today.  My wife called me over this evening to tell me and said "it might make something good for my blog".  But it was very strange. From the US Postal Service.  In a plastic bag and the bag read "We care ..." see below:And inside of this was half of a piece of mail.  A card.  It felt very weird.  Like someone was censoring us but most likely some machine just ate the other half.FrontBackAdd […]

September 02, 2014

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9:02 PM | HHS Contracts With Mapp Bio To Develop Experimental Ebola Drug
  # 9031     Although it is far from certain that the experimental monoclonal antibody cocktail called ZMapp is both safe, and effective against Ebola infection, early animal studies (see Nature: 100% Of Ebola Infected Macaques Recovered With ZMapp) have been highly encouraging, and we’ve seen anecdotal reports of improvement in some of the humans who have received the drug.    Today the HHS has announced that BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and […]
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8:57 PM | Throwing a loop to silence gene expression
All human cells contain essentially the same DNA sequence – their genetic information. How is it possible that shapes and functions of cells in the different parts of the body are so different? While every cell’s DNA contains the same construction master plan, an additional regulatory layer exists that determines which of the many possible […]
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6:20 PM | CDC & WHO Press Briefings On Ebola
Credit CDC PHIL     #9030   Today the World Health Organization and the CDC both held press conferences (unfortunately, at the same time) on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.   I was only able to listen in on the live CDC conference, and to the last part of the the UN conference, but both carried similar messages. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is moving faster than the response currently being mounted against it.     A […]
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5:02 PM | Cytokines and Psychiatry- Few facts
Greetings    At a time when the only thing the people are interested in Ebola, it is probably very difficult to impress the fact that more is there on infectious literature. There is no doubt that at this point it is a global priority and hence rightly the interest. Leaving the trend aside, I have many a times in this post talked about the possible role of microbes in psychiatric conditions. For example, there probably is a good possibility that toxoplasma (Link), Endogenous […]
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4:06 PM | Science Journal SPAM of the Week: the Journal of HIV/AIDS from Sci Forschen
Well, got this email this AM.  It is yet another spammy journal (I don't work on HIV/AIDS).  I particularly like the part where I am called an "eminent personality".Dear Dr. Jonathan Eisen,Greetings from the Journal of HIV/AIDS,We take great delight in inviting you to join the Editorial Board for the Journal of HIV/AIDS , which is an open access, peer reviewed journal managed by Sci Forschen.  Ensuring quality and accuracy for every submitted […]
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12:50 PM | The Lancet: Series On Emerging Respiratory Tract Infections
Pneumonia Etiology Unknown – CDC PHIL   # 9029   This is mostly a head’s up, since I’ve not had time to read any of these papers. But as they appear to be both interesting and on point for this blog, so I decided to point my readers in their direction.   Among the authors you’ll find such familiar names as  Ziad Memish, Christian Drosten, Alimuddin Zumla, and Jaffar Al-Tawfiq. This series is provided for free by The lancet, […]
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12:18 PM | WHO: Virological Analysis Shows `No Link’ Between DRC and West African Ebola Outbreaks
  # 9028   Actually this doesn’t come as a big surprise, but it does lay to rest an earlier report that suggested the DRC Ebola species was some sort of unusual  `hybrid’ between Ebola Zaire and Ebola Sudan. In fact, the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has now been identified as Ebola Zaire – and an older lineage at that – being most closely related to a strain that was seen in Kitwit, nearly 20 years ago. Although the West […]
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11:05 AM | Citizen Scientists Make Important Discovery about Camel Crickets
Grad Student Too Busy, Annoyed to Care about Giant Bugs in Basement In graduate school, I rented a house with a few fellow students on a quiet, tree-lined street close to our university. To be quite honest, we spent very little social time together in this house. Most of our days, nights and weekends were spent in the lab, in the field, or in our offices, toiling away on our graduate research. We came home to sleep, grab a quick bite to eat, and maybe do a load of laundry. In fact, when I think […]
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11:00 AM | Illustrations of the 1896-1897 Influenza Epidemic in Paris
This image has been used here at Contagions in various cropped versions as the header and avatar for several years now. I found a couple more related illustrations that are worth sharing and put the illustration in better context. This is an emergency tent hospital erected to handle the epidemic of 1897.  It certainly looks […]
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10:59 AM | FAO Alert: Ebola Outbreak Threatens Food Security In West Africa
      # 9027   One of the scenarios we’ve looked at previously surrounding severe epidemics or pandemics involves disruptions in the supply and/or production chain, leading to shortages, price hikes, and severe economic downturns. All of which can lead to even greater misery and loss of life.    We’ve discussed this cascade effect a number of times, including in the Supply Chain Of Fools, and in the CIDRAP Coal Report, which looked at […]
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9:53 AM | Japan: Locally Acquired Dengue Cases Rise To 34
Credit Wikipedia   # 9026   Less than a week ago, in Japan Reports 1st Locally Acquired Dengue Case In 60 Years, we learned of a teenage girl  (without recent travel history outside the country), living in Saitama prefecture (near Tokyo) who had been diagnosed with Dengue fever.   This marks Japan’s first locally acquired case of the mosquito-borne virus since the 1940s (although a German tourist came home from a trip to Japan with Dengue in 2013).   […]
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5:38 AM | Wikipedia: Zinaida Ermolieva
Zinaida Vissarionovna Ermolieva (Russian: Зинаида Виссарионовна Ермольева; 15 October 1898 [O.S. 27 October] – 2 December 1974) was a Russian microbiologist and epidemiologist who led the Soviet effort to generate penicillin during the Second World War. Biography Born on a farm in the Frolovo […]
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12:49 AM | BacterioFiles 181 - Spore-formers Smash Salmonella's Solanum Strongholds
This episode: Soil bacteria could help prevent food poisoning from bacteria in raw tomatoes! Download Episode (9.6 MB, 10.5 minutes)Show notes:News item/Journal Paper Other interesting stories: Life history correlates with gut communities, sometimes expected and sometimes not Single bacterial species can consume multiple different organic gases Skin bacteria may affect how wounds heal Microbes kill frog-killing fungi Algae can use many wavelengths of light that plants cannot Post questions […]
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